Finding the cheapest way to send money abroad

All you want to do is send some money abroad. But with all the different costs, regulations, taxes and hoops you have to jump through, it can be hard to find the right way to complete your transfer quickly, safely and at the lowest cost. 

Know where you want to send your money, but not the cheapest way to do it? We’ve put together this handy destination guide that will help you find the cheapest, safest and most secure way to send money internationally. 

Below, you'll find our country guides (separated by region), which give vital information about how you can send money worldwide. We also talk about some of the key factors that you should keep in mind when sending money abroad.


All Transfer Destinations

Factors affecting the cost of sending money overseas

Sending money abroad is different to making a domestic payment. It can take longer, have additional costs attached and unique rules you’ll need to follow when booking a transfer. These rules depend on the destination you are sending from and to, and whether you are transferring money through your bank or an international money transfer broker. 

Although the process to transfer money online is similar with each broker, fees and offered exchange rates vary. With FXcompared's transfer comparison tool, you can find the cheapest provider to send money to almost any country in the world. 

Let’s take a closer look at the factors that affect how much it costs to send money overseas. 

Exchange rate

Generally, when you are transferring money to a foreign bank account, this will be converted into local currency. The exchange rate refers to the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another.

The rate at which banks buy and sell currencies from one another is known as the mid-market rate. But, crucially, money transfer companies often add a mark-up to the exchange rate so that they can make money from each transfer. If a money transfer company claims to have no fees, often this will mean they are adding a markup to the exchange rate. 

Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell how much an exchange rate has been marked-up without actually completing a transfer. That’s why it’s so useful to use a data-powered tool like the one operated by FXcompared. This tracks how much a money transfer will cost in real-time across all the major money transfer operators servicing your chosen country, so that you can find the cheapest way to send money abroad. 

For more information and to compare the best exchange rates between currencies, head to our Exchange Rates page. 

Fees

Sending money internationally through your bank will often incur high transfer fees, particularly if the money needs to be transferred across multiple correspondent banks to reach its destination. That’s why many people use money transfer companies, which have large networks specifically set up for remittances worldwide, and thus are able to charge lower fees. 

Many money transfer operators will charge a fee for making a transfer that will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The amount of money you are transferring
  • The country you are sending money to
  • The speed of the transaction (i.e. some companies have express options that allow you to send money faster for a higher price)

Want more information about fees and the costs involved with making an international money transfer? Read our comprehensive guide here. 

Taxes

Depending on the country you are sending to, the amount you are sending and the reason you are sending it, there are some circumstances (but not all) where you may be required to pay additional taxes to make a money transfer.

You can find out whether taxes will apply when sending money, and explore the potential costs of sending money from one country to another on our routes page here. Or for more general information surrounding transferring money to other countries, read our guides below.

Contents

Send money to Asia-Pacific

The APAC region is home to four of the largest recipients of inbound money transfers: India, China, the Philippines and Pakistan

While many countries have few or no limitations on money sent, some countries, particularly China, may have restrictions for sending money to or from the country, depending on the specific purpose of the transfer. It’s therefore really important to read up on whether your transfer will be possible or if it will have additional costs involved. 

Want to find more about sending money to Asia? Read our detailed country guide below. 

Send money to Central and South America

The biggest recipients of money transfers in Central America (and indeed, the world) are Guatemala, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras

Some countries may have some moderate restrictions and admin requirements regarding FX transfers, as well as a need to declare when you are importing large amounts of foreign currency. However, for the most part, Central American countries have low or no restrictions on international money transfers coming into the country.

Some of the biggest recipients of remittances in South America include Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador. There are generally few restrictions on international money transfers to worry about, but currency volatility is a major factor to bear in mind when it comes to sending money to South America. It's always important to check when sending money abroad if currency volatility could lead to a vastly different outcome for your money transfer. 

Want to find out more about sending money to Central and South America? Read our detailed country guide below.

Send money to Europe

Some of the biggest recipients of remittances in Europe include Germany, France, Hungary, Croatia, Latvia and Poland. Intra-European business depends on remittances, creating a real need for cheaper transfers between countries.

Much of Europe is under EU rules for money transfers, which means they don't have restrictions on money transfers into and out of the country and use EU guidelines with regards to ID requirements, though it is always worth checking the rules for the specific country you wish to send to. It's important to remain mindful of currency volatility, and in some areas remittances of a certain size may have tax implications for the recipient (in the UK, for example).

Want to find out more about sending money to Europe? Read our detailed country guide below. 

Send money to the Middle East

The Middle East is home to two massive source countries for money transfers – the UAE and Saudi Arabia – both of which have a significant expat population. However, the growth of technology and business in the region is spurring the need for efficient and cost-effective money transfers. 

Remittances into many Middle Eastern countries usually come with few or no restrictions. However, you should always check to see if there are any local currency laws that might affect your transfer and exchange rates. You should also check for any differences in ID requirements for money transfers into/out of your chosen country. 

Send money to Africa

Money transfers are incredibly important for Africa, which sees mass migration both between African countries and to those outside it. 

Some of the biggest African recipients of money transfers are Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Zimbabwe. In many countries, mobile remittance services that enable money to be transferred to online mobile accounts are growing in popularity among the population, many of whom are unbanked.

When sending money to Africa, it’s important to be aware that some regions are facing currency volatility. In recent years, many African countries have faced high inflation rates, which in turn will impact the exchange rate for international money transfers. You should therefore consider how the value of any currency transfer may be affected. 

Want to find out more about sending money to the Middle East or Africa? Read our detailed country guide below. 

Send money to North America

North America is home to one of the biggest money transfer routes in the world: the US/Mexico money transfer corridor. Mexico is one of the biggest receivers of remittances in the world, sending $51.6bn home in 2021, while the US is the biggest source country for remittances worldwide. 

Money transfers usually come with no restrictions attached, just be aware of tax implications. For example, under current regulations (at the time of writing) US residents are taxed on worldwide income, and so if they sell assets overseas and repatriate their funds, they may have to pay additional tax. 

Want to find out more about sending money to North America? Read our detailed country guide below.

FAQs

Is it safe to send money abroad? 

Customers should use international money services regulated by relevant authorities to conduct money transfers. For example, in the UK, the relevant authority would be the FCA. When sending money through an authorised money transfer company, any money you have contributed is kept separate from the company kitty, meaning that if the company goes bust you are much more likely to get it back. 

FXcompared only compares money transfer operators who are established, authorised and safe to use, giving you peace of mind when it comes to transferring your money. 

How much money can you send abroad?

The amount of money you are able to send in one transaction may be subject to limits depending on the bank/money transfer provider you are sending it with, or the country you are sending it from.

In some countries (such as the UK), there’s technically no rule about the maximum amount of money that can be sent abroad, but financial institutions may monitor transfers for illegal activity such as money laundering or tax avoidance. 

In other countries, there may be a daily limit on remittances – China, for example, limits the amount of remittance money you can send abroad to no more than $50,000 (any higher would require a specific reason). 

Often, maximum amount limits will be set by the money transfer provider, which will usually have further information about its limits for sending to certain countries on their website. 

How can I compare money transfer providers? 

With FXcompared’s money transfer comparison tool, you can compare how much it would cost to make an international transfer to your country of choice across money transfer companies in real-time, eliminating the time-consuming task of searching with each provider individually.  

On our site, we’ve compared some of the biggest money transfer providers, including OFX, Torfx, Currencies Direct, Moneycorp and World First Review, to give you an insight into which will offer you the cheapest, safest money transfers worldwide. 

Looking for more information?

Take a look at some of our other guides to international money transfers below: 

Money Transfer Comparison

Results are ranked in order of the best overall deal, taking into account transfer times, rates, fees, and customer service.

Money Transfer Comparison Tool

See our specialist transfer route guides and exchange rate guides.

 

Top 15 Money Transfer Providers

Moneycorp

Est. 1979

One-off payments | Regular payments | Great rates | Safeguarded customer funds

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OFX (UK)

Est. 1998

OFX (previously UKForex in the UK), provides secure and speedy international money transfers to over 300,000 people in 55 currencies at better-than-bank rates

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TorFX

Est. 2004

Excellent exchange rates | No transfer fees | Thousands of 5 star reviews 

FXcompared Rating
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Currencies Direct

Est. 1996

Great exchange rates | Specialist services | No added fees, 24/7 transfers | Safe and secure

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Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange)

Est. 2005

Great rates | One-off payments | Regular transfers | E-Money Institution | No fees for FXcompared customers

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Azimo

Est. 2012

Azimo is an online only provider with a focus on mobile money transfers. They also work with the top global banks and payment providers to ensure the safe delivery of your money and payout globally.

FXcompared Rating
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WorldRemit

Est. 2010

Use the code '3FREE' and pay no fees on your first three money transfers

WorldRemit is an online service that lets people send money to friends and family living abroad, using a computer, smartphone or tablet.

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RationalFX

Est. 2005
Established in 2005, RationalFX helps individuals and businesses achieve significant savings on international payments
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WorldFirst

Est. 2004

Transparency and security | Great customer feedback rating from Feefo

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Currency Solutions

Est. 2003

Currency exchange specialists ranking No.1 on Trustpilot for the past two years

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Remitly

Est. 2011

Remitly is a leading remittance focused player headquartered in the USA. Recipients can receive money by bank deposit, cash pick up, mobile money, or home delivery

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Smart Currency Exchange

Est. 2004
Smart is focused on helping clients to effectively and efficiently send and receive payments internationally
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Wise

Est. 2011

Wise is an online only provider

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MoneyGram

Est. 1940

MoneyGram is a leading remittance provider serving countries across the globe.

 

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Western Union

Est. 1851

The Western Union Company is a financial services and communications company based in the United States.

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FXcompared.com is an fx money comparison site for international money transfer and to compare rates from currency brokers for sending money abroad. The website and the information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer, solicitation or advice on any financial service or transaction. None of the information presented is intended to form the basis for any investment decision, and no specific recommendations are intended.  FXC Group Ltd and FX Compared Ltd does not provide any guarantees of any data from third parties listed on this website. FX compared Ltd expressly disclaims any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from (i) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (ii) any action resulting therefrom.